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174 VIRGINIA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE. 

REVOLUTIONARY PENSION DECLARATIONS' 
FROM PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, VA. 



(From Copies on File at Pittsylvania C. H., Chatham, 

Va.) 



Joseph Smith. 

State of Virginia, 
Pittsylvania County. 

On this 17th day of Sept. 1832, Personally appeared in 
open Court before Stephen Coleman, Thorn. Shelton, Jno. D. 
Adams, & Wm. M. Williams, the court of Pitts, now sitting, 
Joseph Smith a resident of the County of Pitts. & state afore- 
said, aged Sixty-nine years, who on his Oath made the fol- 
lowing declaration: 

That he entered the service of the United States early in 
the month of January 1781 as a Substitute for Harmon Mil- 
ler and marched from the County of Halifax in the State 
of Virginia in a Company of drafted Militia which was Com- 
manded by Capt. Charles Wall and Lieut. Bates & Ensign 
Daniel Wilson, Crossed Staunton River at Bibbs Ferry & went 
thro' the Counties of Charlotte, Lunenburg, Notoway and Din- 
widdie by the Long Ordinary and thro' the Town of Peters- 
burg to Cabin Point on the James River, there joined the 
Regiment under the Command of Major Pennell [PannillPJ 
& Col Holcombe 2 & was stationed at that place about 6 weeks, 

1 Under the United States pension law in effect in 1832, applicants for 
pensions had to prove their claims by proper evidence produced before 
local courts. One copy of the " declaration " as it was called, was sent 
to the Commissioner in Washington and another filed among the records 
of the court. As the act in operation in 1832 greatly widened the scope 
of pension legislation, there were for the first time many applicants who 
had served in the militia. Where these declarations have been pre- 
served they give much interesting information in regard to the services 
of the militia— information which is hardly to be found elsewhere. 

•Col. John Holcombe. of Prince Edward county. This campaign 
was that of Arnold's first invasion of Virginia. 



REVOLUTIONARY PENSION DECLARATIONS. 175 

then marched down the country & joined Genl. Mulenburg's 
Brigade near Portsmouth, Va. & remained with him until 
his term of service, being three months, expired. He was dis- 
charged by Ensign Wilson about the ist of April 1781, that 
his discharge is lost & cannot be found & that he does not 
know a person living that served with him but has been 
proved by Capt. John Walters who lived a close neighbor to 
him. 

Soon after he returned home from the above described 
town he again entered the service of the U. S. as a Substi- 
tute for his Father, James Smith & marched from the said 
County of Halifax sometime in the month of April 1781, in 
a Company of drafted Militia which was Commanded by Capt. 
William Clark to Point of fork on James River, at that place 
he joined the Regiment Commanded by Col. Tucker* in Genl. 
Lawson's Brigade & continued under the said Officers march- 
ing in Various directions untill he arrived at Morben Hills 
below Richmond & remained at that place until his term of 
service expired, being upwards of three months, he was dis- 
charged at that place by Col'o Priddy the 28th day of July 
1781. That Identical discharge is now in his possession & 
herewith presented to the Court. 

He was born in the State of Maryland he supposes in the 
year 1763, has no record of his age. He lived in the County 
of Halifax, State of Va. when he entered the service of the 
United States. He lived in the County of Halifax five years 
after the War ended, then moved to the County of Pittsyl- 
vania, Virginia, & has lived in this County ever since. Sworn 
to & subscribed this day & year aforesaid. Joseph Smith. 



William Dove. 
State of Virginia. Pittsylvania County. 
On the 22nd day of August 1832, personally appeared in 

'Col. St. George Tucker and Brigadier General Robert Lawson. 
In March, 1781, Arnold was reinforced at Portsmouth by Phillips, and 
on April 18th the combined forces left that place and advanced up James 
River. They were later joined by Cornwallis. On July 28th, i78r, the 
English forces were again at Portsmouth to which they had retreated. 



176 VIRGINIA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE. 

open Court before Win. L. Pannill, Daniel Coleman, Cole- 
man D. Bennett, & David H. Clark, the Court of Pittsyl- 
vania County now sitting, William Dove, a resident of Cam- 
den Parish, in the County of Pittsylvania & state of Vir- 
ginia, aged 74, who on his oath made the following declara- 
tion. 

That he was born in Charles County Maryland the 27th 
Nov. 1758, and moved to Fairfax County, Va., when quite 
young with his parents. 

That in Aug. 1777 when the British landed, at the head of 
Elk River and marched toward Philadelphia, an express ar- 
rived at Fairfax County, Va., when he volunteered under 
Capt. Thomas Pollard, (the" name of the Lieut, he forgets) ; 
Col. Rumley of Alexandria was commandant of the Reg't, 
and Seal and Dennis Ramsey* were Captains in the same; 
the name of the Major he forgets; that in a few days after 
he volunteered he marched from Alexandria (the place of 
Rendezvous) thro' Georgetown, Frederick Town, Md. and 
York town about the line of Maryland & Pennsylvania to 
Lancaster in Pa. ; that there he remained about a week when 
an express arrived for the troops to join Genl. Washington 
at Head Quarters, but on the march he was taken with Small 
Pox & had to lie by for a few days & during his confinement 
heard the roar of the cannon at the battle of Germantown. 
After his recovery he regained his company at Genl. Wash- 
ington's Head Quarters and there remained until his 3 months 
expired. 

That in September 1778 he enlisted as a Marine on board 
a ship called the Genl. Washington at Alexandria, which was 
destined to carry despatches to France. Francis Speake, 
Capt. and Sam'l. Walker Lieut, of the ship, William Sand- 
ford Capt. and Wm. Pearson Lieut, of the Marines, and Doc- 
tor Wm. Ramsey Surgeon The same month he enlisted he 

'Dennis Ramsay, of Alexandria, son of William Ramsay, (1716-1785) 
of Galway, Scotland, who settled at Alexandria as early as 1744. See 
Hayden's Virginia Genealogies, 87, 88 and Brockett's Lodge of Wash- 
ington, 109. 



REVOLUTIONARY PENSION DECLARATIONS. 177 

tailed, and arrived in France in unusually short passage of 
18 days (which was said to be the quickest passage that ever 
then had been made). That they remained at a small town 
called Painbeouf, about 15 miles below Nantes the whole 
winter. In March they sailed to Brest & joined the French 
fleet & in April sailed out from Brest in company with about 
ninety vessels of various nations which were conveyed by the 
French ships of War out to sea. After getting clear of the 
coast of France, & leaving the French ships, the Genl. Wash- 
ington cruised on the coasts of Spain awhile, and returning 
home, near Cape Henry fell in with and took a British Priva- 
teer & brought her into Alexandria the last of June 1779. 

That in March 1780 he enlisted on the same vessel as sea- 
man, Sam'l Walker, Capt. and Flagg, Lieut, (no Marines) 

and sailed for Amsterdam in Holland, conveying some mer- 
chant vessels out of the Chesapeake Bay. On the passage the 
Genl. Washington fell in with & took a large British Mer- 
chantman. That he with 7 others was detached to take com- 
mand of the prize and brought her and 4 prisoners into Phila- 
delphia in July 1780, when she was sold but he never received 
a cent of the prize money. He then returned home by water 
to Baltimore & then by land home. 

In July 1781 he volunteered under & was appointed Cor- 
poral by his old Captain Thomas Pollard; that he forgets 
the name of his Lieut. ; that he marched to the Mobbie [Mal- 
vern] Hills below Richmond Va. and his company was there 
attached to the Command of Col. Mereweather & Major 
Hardy. Thence they marched to a place called Springfield 
below Williamsburg, Va. & there he was employed with a 
guard the most of the time in guarding Burwell's large house 5 
on York River which was in sight of the British shipping; 
that his 3 months then expired & he returned home with his 
Captain in October (he thinks early) in 1781. That he never 
received any discharges having always returned with his offi- 
cers and he does not think it was customary with any of his 

5 Probably at Kings Creek, York county, not many miles above York- 
town, where the Burweils owned a large estate. 



1.78 VIRGINIA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE. 

Captains to give discharges. He was well acquainted with 
Col'o Hooe, Lawyer Simmes, Capt. Ramsey, Capt. Wm. 
Ellsey, the Fitzhughs, Masons, & Co'o Broadwater all of 
whom then lived in Alexandria which was then in Fairfax 
County. 

That he emigrated to Pittsylvania County in 1783 where 
he has resided ever since and in this section of country is 
well acquainted with the Hon. Nathaniel H. Claibourn, Mem- 
ber of Congress, William Tunstall, Clerk of Pitts. County, 
Walter Coles, Esq. a Capt. in the regular Army in the late 
War & many others to whom he refers respectfully. 

his 
Wm. X Dove. 
mark 



William Dixon. 

State of Virginia, 
Pittsylvania County. 
On the 22nd day of August 1832 personally appeared be- 
for the Court of the County, William Dixon, a resident of 
said county & state aforesaid, aged 70 years, and made the 
following declaration. 

That he enlisted for three years in the army of the United 
States in the year 1780 (shortly after the defeat of Genl. 
Gates) with one Wheatly a recruiting officer and served in 
Col. Litterell's Regiment of the Continental Line, under the 
following officers. First Col. Litterell, who having been killed 
at Lindley's mills was succeeded in command by Col. Read, 
Major Douglass, Captain Richeson and lastly Capt. Trowton, 
were the officers under whom he served until peace was de- 
clared. He belonged to the Cavalry. At the time of his en- 
listment he resided near Hillsboro, in Orange County & state 
of North Carolina, after which he was taken to Litterell's 
Barracks near Salisbury in the county of Rowan & state 
aforesaid, where he passed the winter of 1780-81. He was 
frequently detached with his company to suppress & put down 
the tories, and on one occasion was. led to the Cheraw Hills 



REVOLUTIONARY PENSION DECLARATIONS. 179 

in South Carolina, thence up the Pedee & Yadkin Rivers to 
the Island ford, where a part of Col. Read's force had a 
brush with the enemy. A few days before the battle of 
Guilford he was detached together with the rest of his com- 
pany to repair to Hillsboro for the purpose of preventing 
the enemy from taking possession of the ammunition. 

After the object of their trip was effected they returned & 
reached the Main Army at a place called the troublesome iron 
works in guilford county and state of North Carolina, the 
first or second night after the battle of Guilford, to which 
place the Army retreated, it became necessary to destroy or 
sink the boats & canoes on Dan River between Perkins' & 
Dix's ferry, he with others was detached for this purpose, 
being piloted by Dr. Bryant. When peace was declared he 
returned home. He does not know whether he received 3 
written discharge or not, but recollects well that he received 
a paper (the contents of which he did not know as he could 
not read), which he afterwards sold for some money & prop- 
erty. He begs leave to refer to some additional evidence 
of his claim, now filed in the Treasury department, but which 
will be transfered to the department of War. 

his 
William X Dixon. 
mark 



David Wray. 

State of Virginia, 
Pittsylvania County. 

On the 17th day of September 1832 personally appeared 
before the County Court of said County David Wray a resi- 
dent of said County aged 81, who on his oath made the fol- 
lowing declaration. 

That he volunteered in April or May 1778 during the Revo- 
lutionary War on an expedition against the Indians in the 
Western part of Virginia on the borders of New River. He 



180 VIRGINIA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE. 

went under Capt. Jno. Donlison,' that while on said service 
he was usually stationed at Lucas's Fort when not in active 
service. That there were other companies of Militia stationed 
at different points along said river & adjacent country, each 
company seperate from the others and there was no officer 
above the grade of captain, the object being to guard the 
frontier against the Indians. 

That said tour was three months & on leaving there he was 
discharged. That two years thereafter he volunteered in a 
Militia company from this county then called Henry county, 
commanded by Capt. Wm. Witcher 7 . That in said company 
he marched first to Salisbury in N. C. thence to Stone River 
in South Carolina was there attached to Col. David Mason's* 
Regiment, Genl. Lincoln's Brigade. That he performed ser- 
vice there for 5 months & was sick at the time a battle was 
fought on said river. That he never received any written 
discharge from that place because Col. Mason authorized Capt. 
Witcher to give said discharge to all his company and it 
was neglected as they all lived in said county & neighborhood. 
That he was afterwards called on to guard five hundred pris- 
oners, who were taken by Genl. Morgan at the Battle of the 
Cow Pens, which said prisoners were guarded from county 
to county by the militia of each county, and he aided in 
Guarding them to Bedford county, Virginia, that as soon as 

'Captain John Donelson, who afterwards emigrated to Tennessee. 
See this Magazine, VII, 15. 

' Captain William Witcher, of Pittsylvania, was in active service as 
Captain of Militia as early as 1776. 

* David Mason, of Sussex county, member of the House ol Burgesses 
for that county at the sessions of September, 1758, November, 1758, 
February, 1759, Novelnber, 1759, March, 1760, May, 1760, October, 1760, 
March, 1761, Nov. 1761, January, 1762, March, 1762, Nov. 1762, May, 1763, 
January, 1764, October, 1764, May, 1765, November, 1766, March, 1767, 
March, 1768, May, 1769, November, 1769, May, 1770, July, 1771, Febru- 
ary, 1772, March, 1773, May, 1774 and June, 1775, and of the Conven- 
tions of 1775 and 1776. He was commissioned Colonel 15th Virginia 
regiment November is, 1776, and resigned July 31, 1778, but as is shown 
by this declaration, commanded later a volunteer or militia regiment 
in the Southern Army. 



REVOLUTIONARY PENSION DECLARATIONS. 181 

he returned home he was ordered out to Gilford County North 
Carolina, under Capt. James Brewer, he was stationed near 
Gilford Court House & during the battle of Gilford he was 
a waggon guard, that in this tour he served only seven weeks. 
That his discharge from said service was written all in one 
with the others of said company & was taken by a man by 
the name of Hunt, one of said company. 

He further states that he was never in any battle, that he 
cannot now state the day, month, or year in which he entered 
the service at the different times mentioned or the precise 
times he left the same. That there were continental troops 
at Stone in S. C. to the number of 30,000 [3,000?] the differ- 
ent companies or Regiments he cannot specify. That he can 
now only remember the names of Genls. Green, Lincoln, & 
Mbultry in the South. That he was born in Brunswick Co. 
Virginia, date not remembered. 

his 
David X Wray. 
mark 



William Jeffress. 

On the 17th day of Sept. 1832 personally appeared in open 
court before Stephen Coleman, Jno. D. Adams, Vincent 
Witcher & Wm. M. Williams, the Court of Pittsylvania now 
sitting, William Jeffress a resident of said County, of state of 
Va, aged 74 years, who being duly sworn made the following 
declaration. 

That he enlisted in the Army of the United States early 
in the year 1777 with Samuel Colston in the County of Rich- 
mond, in the State of Virginia for two years, he was attached 
to Capt. Jeffres' Company of the Va. State line & marched 
with him to Alexandria, his men were vaccinated at that 
place for the Small Pox and remained there about two months, 
then marched thro' Georgetown to Baltimore & staid there 
about four weeks, then marched thro' Lancaster to the Valley 



182 VIRGINIA HISTORICAL MAGAZINE. 

forge in the State of Pennsylvania, at that place they joined 
the 15th Regiment under the Command of Major Mercer, 
in Gen'l Scott's Brigade. He was then put under Lieut. But- 
ler, who soon became Captain in the said 15th Regiment of 
the Virginia Line, they remained at the said Valley forge 
during the Winter of 1778, early in the Spring the Army 
marched to Stone Chimney, on its march he was taken sick, 
& was sent to the Hospital about five miles from the Valley 
forge. He was confined there untill the month of June when 
he joined the said company again in the Main Army at the 
White plains in the State of New York and remained there 
until the fall, the British then not far off, the American 
Army persued them from place to place & had an engage- 
ment with them at Brandywine, the American Army was 
forced to retreat & went to White Marsh, thence it was prin- 
cipally marching in different directions until it took up Winter 
quarters at 

That in the Spring following he was discharged having 
served two years under that enlistment and then returned 
home in the year 1770. — his discharge is lost or mislaid and 
cannot be found. He does not know a person now living 
that was in that Service with him. 

In the year 1780 he moved from Richmond County to 
Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in the Winter of 1781 the Brit- 
ish were in the State of North Carolina. He volunteered in a 
Company of Militia and marched from the County of Pitt- 
sylvania under Capt. Joshua Stone to Boyd's Ferry on Dan 
River, from there into the State of North Carolina, march- 
ing in various directions until he arrived at the high Rock, 
Rockingham County, N. C. He was there discharged by 
Captain Stone in the month of March 1781, the whole time of 
Service rendered on this tour was 8 or 9 weeks, his discharge 
is lost and cannot be found and he does not know a person 
living that was in Service with him at that time. 

About the first of August 1781 he was drafted in a Com- 
pany of Militia and marched from the County of Pittsyl- 



REVOLUTIONARY PENSION DECLARATIONS. 183 

vania under Capt. Wm. Dix and Lieut. David Hunt and 
Ensign Clement McDaniel to Little York and was stationed 
there in Col Merryweathers' Regiment until Lord Cornwal- 
lis Surrendered himself and his Army to Genl. George Wash- 
ington in the month of Oct. 1781. He was then ordered to 
march with Capt. Chas. Williams and Lieut. David Hunt to 
guard the British prisoners taken at Little York to Nolands 
ferry on the Potomac River. He was discharged verbally 
by Capt. Charles Williams at the said Noland's ferry, in the 
month of November 1781, the whole time of service rendered 
on this tour including the time of traveling home being up- 
wards of four months, the service rendered is proved by 
Jsham Farmer and Lewis Haley who were Soldiers with him 
in the same Company. 

He was born in the County of Richmond, State of Vir- 
ginia, he supposes in the year 1758, he has no record of his 
age, he lived in the County of Richmond when he enlisted in 
the Army of the Revolution in the year 1777. 

He lived in the County of Pittsylvania when the War ended 
and lived in the said County 16 years, then moved to the 
County of Halifax in the State of Virginia, and lived in that 
County 15 years, then removed to the County of Pittsylvania 
and has lived in that County ever since. 

his 
William X Jeffress. 
mark